I considered my first year of graduate school complete the moment I finished Maymester. After I finished the class, an internal switch happened inside of me… technically, I am a second year student; everything that I will be doing will be towards my second year of graduate school. Through my interactions with some of the recent graduates of the program, one of the main ideas that I gathered from their experiences is that things will get better, possibly easier if I have gotten used to processes and expectations of the program, of my job, of myself. While I can see that being possible, I know me better than that. I am no longer new to graduate school, however I still feel like there is more that I should know by now. I have to feel challenged; I need my experiences to be full of learning, growth, and development.
I finally have my challenge. This summer, I am experiencing my first challenge where my responsibilities at my office have greatly increased. This is my first time coordinating a summer program for students. In doing this, I get to work similar hours to a professional while developing all the skills that I know that I am going to need in an entry-level position. As I shared in previous posts, my anxious nature completely conflicts with developing skills in public speaking. It has only been a few weeks however I can tell that slowly and surely I will become more comfortable and a lot less stressed about giving presentations because at least once a week I will be doing some form of presenting.
Another skill that I am able to develop this summer is maintaining and balancing a budget, which is definitely a competency that I look forward to working on and meeting. As far as I am concerned, the budget is the skeleton or the foundation of a program, or at least a program of this capacity. Coordinating this program helps me realize that there is so much that goes into program planning and execution and it also reminds me that I need to be more detail-focused and organized before I miss a factor that needs to be accounted for in order for the program runs sufficiently.
Another competency that I am happy to improve on is interpersonal relations. Coordinating the program has helped me establish new connections with students that I would have not had a chance to work with, maintain new connections with students that I have previously worked with. Seeing that the summer program is primarily academic, I hope to create and foster non-academic connections with these students, which further promotes holistic experiences for these students. In addition to interpersonal relations, the program also helps me work on establishing new connections with faculty and staff members, which is not only important for our office to do in order to be successful but also important for me to learn their perspectives and work styles.
I believe that a work experience such as this can be rewarding as an emerging professional. With all the competencies and skills that I will work on this summer, I am sure that it will be beneficial to me going into my second year as well as when I begin the job search.
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Meagan, Karyn, Michael, and Alice, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.